Int’l Dark Sky Association

This item appears on page 52 of the October 2019 issue.

The following parks and sanctuaries were so designated by the International Dark-Sky Association (Tucson, AZ; 520/293-3198,

• Located in the Yaeyama Islands, JAPAN’s southernmost populated area, Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park became the country’s first, and still only, Dark Sky Park in April 2018.

Accessible from Haneda Airport in Tokyo, the islands (closer to Taiwan than to Japan’s main island, Honshu) have only 54,000 residents, mostly in one city. Largely free from light pollution, the park features rainforest, mangroves, beaches and waterfalls plus rare land and marine animals. For info, visit

Warrumbungle National Park in New South Wales, AUSTRALIA, is the Southern Hemisphere’s only Dark Sky Park.

Three observatories can be found just outside the 57,605-acre park, and Warrumbungle Observatory offers sky-viewing sessions every night. Over a 90-minute session, guests can look at celestial objects through five increasingly powerful telescopes, and visitors with Canon or Nikon cameras with detachable lenses can photograph some of them.

A viewing session costs AUD26 (near $17.50), adult, or AUD12, child under 17. Must purchase in advance through 123Tix Booking Agency (phone +61 02 6881 8632, For more info and directions, visit and click on “Warrumbungle Observatory Telescope & Night Sky Viewing.”

Stewart Island, in southernmost NEW ZEALAND, achieved Dark Sky Sanctuary status on Jan. 4, 2019. About 85% of the island is taken up by Rakiura National Park and protected from development. It’s a prime spot to see the aurora australis, or southern lights. For island info, visit

• The PITCAIRN ISLANDS, in the South Pacific, were named a Dark Sky Sanctuary on April 4, the first island group to be classified as such in its entirety. The total area of the sanctuary, spanning the four islands in the group as well as the territorial ocean space, is 520,000 square miles.